Feb 5

I noticed online that there was quite the stir surrounding The Biggest Loser’s weight loss today. I didn’t watch the show this season, although I have seen it in the past. Apparently the winner lost about 60% of her initial body weight, causing many people to say it was too much. Some even went so far as to claim she looked anorexic or sick and unhealthy. I quickly stopped reading comments, but I’m sure not everyone was nice about expressing their opinions. I had other headlines to investigate, such as Lady Gaga’s eating disorder and Gwen Stefani referring to her younger self as “chunky.” I followed that up with an article about the 12 foods that all dieticians keep in their own houses.

Obviously, there was theme today…What is it about body issues that is so universal? And what makes us so wildly judgmental about them? I don’t have an opinion on the headlines I read today except that they made me sad. It reminded me of how obsessed our culture is with looks and how adversely affected we all are by it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Pollyanna. Every society in every time frame has had standards by which they mark beauty. It’s probably always going to be that way. We love beautiful people. I just wish we could shift the definition of what we find beautiful. Healthy is beautiful. Happy is beautiful. And you know what, those two things come in all sizes.

I remember being a teenage girl. Crazy time. And that was before Instagram and Facebook and cellphone camera selfies. We didn’t have images of ourselves plastered every where for everyone to see and judge. But the pressure was there to be thin and model-like. I’m only 5’2″ and built like a gymnast. I was never going to be waiflike as I desired to be. I think I knew that, but it didn’t stop me from hating how I was, as I called myself, short and stocky. And I had my own measurement of whether or not I was getting fat. I’d place my hand, fingers wide across my leg when I was sitting down. If my thighs were larger than my hand, I needed to quit eating. I spent way too many hours of my day worrying about how much I was eating. Trying to see how long I could go without eating. Judging myself against every other girl I thought was thinner that I. The life of a teenager girl is oftentimes constant comparison.

Of course, now I wish I had worried more about what I was eating. I wish I had realized that what mattered most is being healthy. Being strong. I’m thankful I never developed a full-blown eating disorder, and I’m thankful that I don’t let my body issues override my life anymore. Of course there are things I don’t love about myself. But my short, muscular body has served me well over the years. I plan to take care of it, so it continues to do so.